Exploring virtual mental practice in maintenance task training
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Exploring virtual mental practice in maintenance task training

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    J Workplace Learn. 28(5):294-306.
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    J Workplace Learn
  • Description:
    Purpose – This paper aims to contribute to a general understanding of mental practice by investigating the utility of and participant reaction to a virtual reality maintenance training among underground coal mine first responders. Design/methodology/approach – Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) developed software to provide opportunities for mine rescue team members to learn to inspect, assemble and test their closed-circuit breathing apparatus and to practice those skills. In total, 31 mine rescue team members utilized OMSHR's BG 4 Benching Trainer software and provided feedback to the development team. After training, participants completed a brief post-training questionnaire, which included demographics, perceived training climate and general training evaluation items. Findings – The results overall indicate a generally positive reaction to and high perceived utility of the BG 4 benching software. In addition, the perceived training climate appears to have an effect on the perceived utility of the mental practice virtual reality game, with benchmen from mines with more positive training climates reporting greater perceived efficacy in the training's ability to prepare trainees for real emergencies. Originality/value – This paper helps to broaden current applications of mental practice and is one of the few empirical investigations into a non-rehabilitation virtual reality extension of mental practice. This paper also contributes to the growing literature advocating for greater usage of accurate and well-informed mental practice techniques, tools and methodologies, especially for occupational populations with limitations on exposure to hands-on training.
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